Educator of the Year- Mr. Phillip Gissen

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History did not excite me when I was in school, probably because in previous years, the same stories were taught. Each year was the same as the last; we started with Columbus sailing the ocean blue and ended with the Martin Luther King Jr. speech, “I have a dream.” Fortunately, when I hit middle school, my Social Studies teacher, Mr. Philip Gissen, brought a new light to history, with new ways to teach it.

His ways of teaching are just like him: eccentric. Standing in front of the room in a business suit wearing sunglasses on his thinning blonde hair, he showed us different ways to learn history. Unlike other classes, which only give homework, worksheets and tests, his class brought knowledge and creativity to the surface.
He would give lectures and stories about famous historians, examples to illustrate the past to the present, and assign papers to better understand the subject. Projects in the class were a major part of the learning, varying from creating a tomb for our own mummy, to recreating the civil war in our class. It surprised me that learning could be this much fun.

Even in high school, I still miss his class, but I can see how much I learned. His teachings made freshman and sophomore years in Social Studies easier, due to his advanced teachings. Being a junior in A.P United States History, I know I wouldn’t have made it this far without his help.





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